Dear Amy: I dated a young lady — 26 years old — who has five children by multiple fathers.
I loved her and tried pushing her to seek help, which she agreed to, but it never happened.
Now that we have broken up, I’ve sought counseling and done some reading of my own. I’ve learned that she neatly fits the profile of someone with borderline personality disorder.
Here is my dilemma. She is dating a 20-year-old man who seems to be madly in love with her. He is not concerned that she has so many children by multiple fathers or that she lost custody of two of them. She has never been monogamous.
While I was reasonably aware of what I was getting into (I’m college-educated and in my 30s), I’m concerned she could do real damage to him.
I tried talking to her, to no avail. I suppose I should mind my own business, but I do know one of his parents and have considered telling that person so they can at least offer guidance to their son, but I’m afraid I’m overstepping my bounds. Your advice?
Amy says: Unfortunately, as you know from your own experience, the insidious ferocity of someone with borderline personality disorder often matches the depth of the hubris of the person she is with. While it is not a good idea for amateurs like you (and me) to diagnose others, people with this psychological disorder are often very compelling and find themselves matched with people who think they can manage, help or cure them.
You should not tell this young man what to do but only offer your own experience as a guide. Do not go through his parents. You can expect that this guy will have to experience this human tornado on his own, just as you did.
Dear Amy: I recently hosted a bridal shower for my niece. The bride’s mother and her friends knitted during the event.
I am upset by this, but I haven’t said anything. Is this the new accepted behavior?
Amy says: Across the ages, people (mainly women) have done this type of multitasking during social occasions. It seems to me that this is a homey, appropriate pursuit during a bridal shower.
You could say, “You know, it bothers me when you knit during events because I can’t tell if you are paying attention.”
That might help you let it go.
Thank you, fathers!
Dear Readers: I want to offer a special shoutout and thank-you to all the great fathers out there. Fathers (and stepfathers and grandfathers) don’t always get all the respect they deserve, but so many dads do the true heavy lifting of family life.
I hope my readers take the time today to thank and celebrate the dads in their lives. Happy Father’s Day.
Send questions via e-mail to Amy Dickinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.